“Where Is My Mind?”

(Great song by the Pixies; great video from FIGHT CLUB, which features the song.)

In my last post, I opened the topic of whether our minds are something separate from our brains.  Where IS my mind?  Where IS my consciousness?  And I watched your eyes glaze over when I asked it.  So let me try again.

Why should believers care about where our minds are, where our consciousness comes from?

Modern atheism–Dawkins, Harris, etc.–says that there is nothing BUT biology.  You are a biochemical machine.  Everything about you is mechanical: not just your respiration and digestion, etc., but also your emotions and thoughts and consciousness.

Just like your digestive system is a mechanical process involving your teeth and esophagus and stomach and gall bladder and intestines, etc., SO ALSO your consciousness is a mechanical process involving neurons and eyes and ears and dopamine and serotonin etc.

As complex as your digestive system is, and as infinitely more variable and complex as your consciousness is, they’re still (in the mind of the modern atheist) qualitatively the same: mechanical processes.  (Because they have no room in their worldview for a soul, for a reality that transcends the physical.)

I do not believe that our minds are nothing but biology.  We are spiritual beings, a blend of spiritual and physical.

But let’s say they’re right.  What are the implications?

1. It completely changes the way we think about free will and self-determination.  The choices you make are NOT free, they are dictated by chemistry.

2.  There is nothing special about love, compassion, sacrifice, self-denial or self-restraint, etc.  They are what you feel & do when you have the appropriate combination of chemicals in your brain.

If I have fine enough control of your brain chemistry, I can cause you to hate the people you love, or love the people you hate.  I can cause you to reject your children rather than caring for them.  I can cause you to

3. Sexual orientation can likewise be manipulated.  Your sexual orientation is not innate, it’s just a particular combination of chemicals and responses.  That means that someone who has fine enough control of your brain chemistry can change your sexual orientation.

4.  Faith in God is a chemical reaction.  Give Richard Dawkins the right pills, and he’ll turn into Joel Osteen.  Give Joel Osteen the right pills, and he’ll turn into Charlie Sheen.

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